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UC San Diego Events Celebrate
the 200th Birthdays of Darwin and Lincoln

December 19, 2008

By Kim McDonald

February 12, 2009 marks 200 years since the births of two men whose ideas and actions helped to shape the modern world: Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln.

A series of events at UC San Diego this anniversary year will reflect on both men’s roles in the history of ideas and celebrate their achievements.

On February 12, biology students will throw a birthday party for Darwin and kick off a competition for artistic expressions of the continuing influence of Darwin’s ideas. Scientific American columnist Michael Shermer will announce the winners of that contest in April before giving a public lecture about why Darwin still matters.

The Division of Biological Sciences last year began a series of public lectures on evolution, held at the San Diego Museum of Natural History, that will continue through 2009 under the title Nature Matters with professors of evolutionary biology from UC San Diego talking about their work.

Leading minds in evolutionary biology from around the world will visit campus throughout the year to share their ideas with the public and students and will gather in April for a dean’s symposium on evolutionary biology.

Other events on campus will explore the history of contention over how evolution should be taught in the science classrooms of public schools, culminating in a multimedia performance held at CalIT2 about the Scopes trial with opportunity for the audience to respond.

Several scholars will visit UC San Diego this year to talk about Lincoln’s legacy and place his ideas and presidency in historical perspective.

Lincoln’s eloquent words will feature in performances in February by the La Jolla Symphony, which will also include a work drawn from UC San Diego composer Anthony Davis’s opera about slavery. A newly commissioned musical portrait will evoke Darwin’s achievements.

More information and a complete list of all of the events can be found here.


Media Contact: Kim McDonald, 858-534-7572

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